Press Releases in Hong Kong

HK Customs clarifies phony ‘online auction’ of seized goods

This photo combo shows a website (left) registered in the United States (https://twgsjg.shop) and another one registered in Canada (https://bfjays.shop), both falsely claiming that Hong Kong Customs is making arrangements for selling confiscated items by means of public auction. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong Customs clarified on Tuesday that it had never arranged a public auction on social media or other websites to sell confiscated items.

The clarification came after two Facebook pages under the names "Matiny" and "Yimi-shop" published posts with hyperlinks of two websites registered in the US and Canada and claimed that Customs was selling confiscated items by public auction.

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One of the websites claimed that proceeds from the auction would be used for charity purposes.

Those suitable for placing on public auction will be handled exclusively by the relevant government department in Hong Kong, Customs said. “Customs never works with any external individuals or bodies to make a public auction.”

In a statement, Customs said the two pages conveyed false information that conspired to mislead members of the public. It also suspected intellectual property rights infringement and noted that there may be offenses under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance and Copyright Ordinance of Hong Kong.

Customs said it had already requested the social media platform's operator to remove the messages and hyperlinks as soon as possible, adding that it would also contact Interpol for follow-up action.

The department reiterated that confiscated items will be handled strictly in accordance with the established guidelines upon the completion of legal procedures.

Those suitable for placing on public auction will be handled exclusively by the relevant government department in Hong Kong, it said. “Customs never works with any external individuals or bodies to make a public auction.”

The department said a follow-up investigation will be conducted if the infringing activities involve local people.

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It stressed that it has all along been concerned with illegal online sales activities, saying that it has been striving to combat unfair trade practices and infringing activities on websites. It has also been maintaining close cooperation with law enforcement authorities of other countries and regions to combat cross-boundary infringing activities and protect the rights of consumers and legitimate traders.

It reminded members of the public to be vigilant against online scams.